How Kids (And Grown-Ups) Connect Through Philosophy


Between our hectic schedules and the multitude of wee gadgets that seem to follow us wherever we go, it’s not hard to see how we might feel a little disconnected from one another these days. It’s no wonder we hear so much about the importance of being grounded, mindful, and present. Our kids feel the mad rush too, and it’s just as important to help them find their way back as it is for us.

Yup, this is one of the many uses for philosophy. In a very practical, straightforward sense, sitting down and having a philosophical conversation with a child is a way to reconnect with them amidst the push and pull of 21st century life. But it goes deeper than that. The we talk about in philosophy, in addition to the fact that we actually talk to one another about them, can forge new bonds, and bring us back together.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Big questions about nature and our relationship to it can help us understand that we’re part of an ecosystem, something bigger than ourselves. This works especially well while we’re actually interacting with the natural world.
  • Discussing fairness can demonstrate the importance of working together, and taking note of the needs of those around us. It can also make collaboration and playtime run much more smoothly.
  • A chat about beauty and art can be a bonding experience. This is especially when combined with a trip to a gallery or a hands-on craft activity.
  • Pondering what language is, and how we tell stories, can foster an appreciation for the ways in which we share ideas with one another.
  • Taking a closer look at perception (and whether our senses can be fooled) can encourage us to try to see the world from another point of view.
  • Learning to disagree peacefully is an essential skill, and allows us to explore new ideas without feeling threatened.

Philosophy is built on dialogue. It can happen around campfires, at dinner tables, and during snuggles at bedtime. Taking time to talk and to really listen to one another is always a step in the right direction, when it comes to reconnecting with other humans and with our environment. What’s more, it’s a direct path to reconnecting with ourselves.  In a busy, hectic, and sometimes alienating world, philosophy is a way to hang on to and celebrate our human connections, and it really does work for any age group.

Start a conversation with your little thinker, and make sure they know that, no matter what distractions their buzzing world throws their way, they’ll always have the chance to come back to the close-knit community of inquiry you’ve created.

Happy thinking, everyone!